On Route 66 in the US, drivers routinely drive at 60-70 miles per hour. But on one lonely stretch in New Mexico, they regularly slow down to 45 even though no one is looking.

A sign informs drivers that they can turn their cars into musical instruments if they slow down to the recommended speed on a specific stretch of road. Special rumble strips have been placed to cause a vehicle’s tires to make the song America The Beautiful, but only when a car drives at exactly 45 miles per hour.

Many drivers slow down at that point because they are hooked by the novelty of having their car produce music on the road. While getting hooked by a fun activity is wonderful, we can also get hooked by words. When this happens, getting hooked can get in the way of living a fulfilling life.

What do I mean by “getting hooked by words?”

I mean, we’ve grown attached to the meaning we’ve given a specific term. For example, my friend and colleague Rodney played a card game with his friends and a kid named Nathan who was visiting them. The game was called War, and little Nathan was getting upset since everyone was playing by a different set of rules than the ones he was used to. Rodney’s friend tried to explain that everyone didn’t know Nathan’s way of playing, and it would be easier to play our way. Nathan wouldn’t budge, though. He refused to play by the “wrong” rules.

Rodney settled this by changing one word. “Ah yes, those are the rules for War. However, we play a different game called Battle. Here’s how it works.” The child thought this was OK, and everyone proceeded with the game without further argument.

Rodney kept everyone from getting hooked on one word by giving the game a new name.

What do you do when you catch yourself hooked on a word?

You simply try on a different term to see what you notice.

For example, a student in our Lefkoe Occurring Course named Jessica* noticed that she used the phrase “have to” a lot. This was a big realization for her. Jessica said she didn’t realize she was obligating herself to so many things all the time. She decided to replace “have to” with “choose to” and this lifted a big mental burden for her.

Morty noticed that people would often get stuck when they thought about achieving their goals. Their mind would produce a “but-statement.” If they wanted to lose weight, they might say, “BUT I always get tempted by the sight of chocolate.” Or they might say, “I’d like to build a business BUT I’m not sure what business to start.”

He then taught them to replace the word BUT with AND. BUT negates everything that came before. But if you add the word AND, you are now saying two things can coexist together.

So the goal and the obstacle would now be phrased in the following ways:

I want to lose weight AND I’ll figure out how to overcome my chocolate cravings.

I want to build a business AND I’ll figure out which business I’ll start.

As you can see, one word can act as a red light stopping all further progress. But a new word can be like a green light letting you move forward.

But aren’t I denying reality by changing an important word?

It might seem so in some cases. If your neighbor’s dog leaves poo on your lawn, calling it a rose certainly won’t help anything. However, the words we get hooked on are usually labels that we can take or leave if we want to. I can say, “I want to enjoy my day BUT the poo puts me in a bad mood,” or I can say, “I want to enjoy my day AND I’m not going to let that brown stuff get in the way of my happiness.”

In today’s world, we have all sorts of labels for people we don’t like. Politics is rife with such labels. What happens if we replace these words with something that allows us to feel more compassion for a person who thinks differently than we do. Maybe we could avoid feeling cut off by them and instead feel connected. We just might be able to slow down, listen to them, and get them to listen to us.

Next Step

In January 2022, registration for the Lefkoe Method Training 1 (LMT 1) will open up again. By the end of the course, you’ll eliminate a belief in 20-30 minutes. If you’re a coach, therapist, or in a profession that allows you to coach or counsel others (or even want to join such a profession), this training is ideal as you’ll be able to help your clients make big changes in their lives. Some people even join the course for self-help.

To be eligible for this training, you must be on the waiting list first. Here’s the link to join the waiting list:


While you are on the list, you will also get a few goodies about how to eliminate beliefs.